by Andrea M. Darcy
Can you change your life fast in a few therapy sessions?
Arriving with a life’s worth of problems and expecting them to be solved in a fraction of the time that they were created is unrealistic. Change is a long haul process that requires time, commitment, and effort.
That said, there are certainly things you can do that will make change come much faster than otherwise….
[And therapy still helps you change your life far faster than going it alone. Ready to finally give it a try? Book today, be talking as soon as tomorrow.]
7 Top Tips for Seeing Life Change Faster
Here is our best advice for how to change your life as fast as possible.
1. Stop mistaking your thoughts for ‘reality’.
Your thoughts are often just patterns and assumptions you were taught growing up. You are something far more unique, hidden beneath.
And if there was any struggle, neglect, or trauma in your past, then your thoughts might be a steady diet of distorted, unrealistic thoughts called, well, ‘cognitive distortions’.
Learn to question where you learned these ideas, and if they are true. What might be another possibility?
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a therapy that even focuses on just this – learn its key tool in our article on ‘Balanced Thinking’. You’ll start to notice changes in both your relationships and your moods.
2. Get into the present.
Depression lives in the past, ruminating over all the things we did wrong and missed out on. Anxiety lives in the future, panicking over what may or may not happen.
What if you started trading in your constant diet of past and present thoughts and came into the present moment? What might you discover, and what might that change?
If the research done on mindfulness is anything to go by, it can change your mood, your stress levels, and your ability to focus and get things done. And even means your brain performs like someone years younger.
Go read our free ‘Guide to Mindfulness‘ to get started.
3. Align your life to your personal values.
Do you feel like you are constantly pushing your way uphill? Does nothing ever feel easy? Everything you try seem to take too much energy? Or do you have a weird feeling you are living someone else’s life?
Personal values are the things we deep down can’t help caring about. Not the things those around us think are important, or what our parents want for us, or what our family traditionally puts first, or what everyone at work says is important. What is important to YOU.
Living against our personal values is truly living against ourselves. Which makes it next to impossible to feel good.
Identifying your personal values – stability, freedom, adventure, charity, wealth, simplicity – then starting to make choices that are in line with them? Suddenly things feel not only easier, but good. You feel excited about what you are doing, instead of burned out by it.
4. Upgrade the company you keep.
Here’s one thing that makes change really, really hard – hanging around others who don’t believe in change or, really, in you.
This is not to say it’s helpful to cut out everyone in your life and blame them for your problems. You are responsible for your life. And friends are important.
But if there are people who put you down, even jokingly, or simply feel your desire to change is ‘silly’ or ‘not going to to happen’? Cut them loose.
Seek out people you feel good around, and who share your values.
You’ll benefit from what is now seen as a crucial ingredient of mental health – connection. Loneliness is a quagmire that holds us down. Feeling seen and accepted sets us free.
5. Switch perspective.
How would it feel to learn that life was a house, and you have locked yourself into one room? Convinced that was the whole building? This is actually how many people spend their whole lives.
They are so convinced the way they see things is all there is they don’t even see the door in front of them.
Take a problem you have lately, and try perspective hopping. How would your 85 year-old self see this ‘giant problem’? How would the Dalai Lama see it? A person living in severe poverty or in a war zone? The richest person in the world? You get the point. You are only seeing a limited angle.
Another way to open up your perspective is a daily gratitude practice. It shifts your perspective away from seeing what isn’t working to seeing what is. Daily gratitude is proven by research to improve moods, energy, and even mean less illness.
6. Learn self-compassion.
The buzz word used to be self-esteem. Find that, and all things will follow, right? Except that if we had a difficult upbringing, esteem can takes years to rebuild.
Compassion is the shortcut. It means we start treating ourselves like we would a best friend. We let ourselves off the hook.
And the more show ourselves kindness, the easier it becomes to be nicer to others. Our relationships improve. We feel better. And it’s found that self-esteem naturally grows if we start with compassion.
7. Seek proper, professional support.
Life can very much be a ‘can’t see the woods for the trees’ situation. Often we have no idea what we are even doing wrong, and can spend years (or even decades) trying to find our way in the dark.
Family and friends are useful to an extent, but can be too invested in situations to give unbiased support.
If you really want to change as fast as possible, consider a counsellor or psychotherapist. Think about building a house. Would you leave it up to just anyone? Or would you hire people trained at architecture? So why leave a project as big as changing your life to people who don’t know what they are doing?
Mental health professionals can give you clarity fast, and offer you tools that mean you’ll reach goals in half the time, if not faster.
Harley Therapy connects you with friendly, experienced talk therapists in central London who can help you sort out your life. Not in London, or even the UK? Our online booking platform helps you find a registered counsellor at a price you can afford, and you can use our online therapists from anywhere in the world.
Andrea M. Darcy is a mental health and wellbeing expert and mentor as well as personal development teacher. With training in person-centred counselling and coaching, her favourite thing is helping others find their own perfect path forward to creating a life they feel good in. Find her on Instagram @am_darcy